Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is an edible annual plant that belongs to the Apiaceae family.

The fruits, erroneously called seeds, have a lemony citrus flavor. This is due to the terpenes linalool and pinene present in the fruits. When roasted in a dry pan, the flavor, aroma and pungency intensify. But it loses flavor quickly when stored. It is, therefore, best used freshly ground. The fruits contain dietary fiber, calcium, selenium, iron, magnesium and manganese. The fruits are harvested in August or September.

The leaves, known as cilantro in North American English, Spanish and Portuguese, taste different from the fruits and are usually used raw. Some people find the taste and smell of the leaves unpleasant.


Medicinal use

Coriander contains essential oils with strong antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It regulates the secretion of gastric juices which improves digestion and regulates appetite. It also combats flatulence, but to a lesser extent than caraway.


Essential oils

Coriander essential oils are extracted from the fruits (seeds) or the leaves and branches through the process of steam distillation.

Coriander fruit essential oil


  • Alleviates spasms and convulsions (spasmolytic), and pain (analgesic)
  • Destroys or inhibits the growth of bacteria (antibacterial)
  • Improves the nervous system (neurotonic) and concentration
  • Relieves gas (carminative)
  • Restores and strengthens the body (tonic and stimulant)


  • Colitis
  • Flatulence
  • Indigestion
  • Cystitis
  • Cold related infections (especially in children)
  • Mental exhaustion and problems with concentration
  • Sorrow

Contra-indications: None known

Coriander leaves and branches essential oil


  • Counteracts inflammation and fever (antiphlogistic)
  • Strong tranquilizes (sedative)


  • Gastritis
  • Distress, fear
  • Sleep related problems


High dose causes skin irritation.

Culinary use

All parts of the plant are edible but usually only the fresh leaves and the dried fruit are used in cooking. Coriander is common several cuisines including Mediterranean, Portuguese, Latin American, Brazilian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian, Central Asian, Chinese and African.

The fresh leaves are used in in chutneys and salads in South Asian cuisine. They are also used in Mexican cuisine in guacamole, in salsa or as a garnish. In India, the chopped leaves are used to garnish dal. The ground fruits are an ingredient in garam masala and curries.

In Germany, the fruits are used in sausages. In other parts of Europe, it is used in rye bread as an alternative to caraway.

The roots have a more intense flavor than the leaves and are used in some Thai soups and curry pastes.


Coriander is particularly rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K.



Zimmermann, Eliane. Aromatherapie für Pflege-und Heilberufe. Kursbuch für Ausbildung und Praxis – 5th edition Haug, 2011. ISBN 978-3-8304-7414-2

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